Circuits and Systems, 2011, 2, 133-138 doi:10.4236/cs.2011.23020 Published Online July 2011 (http://www.SciRP.org/journal/cs)
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ΔIDDQ Testing of a CMOS Digital-to-Analog Converter Considering Process Variation Effects*
Rajiv Soundararajan1, Ashok Srivastava1, Siva Sankar Yellampalli2 1Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, USA
Received March 28, 2011; revised April 12, 2011; accepted April 19, 2011
Abstract In this paper, we present the implementation of a built-in current sensor (BICS) which takes into account the increased background current of defect-free circuits and the effects of process variation on ΔIDDQ testing of CMOS data converters. A 12-bit digital-to-analog converter (DAC) is designed as the circuit under test (CUT). The BICS uses frequency as the output for fault detection in CUT. A fault is detected if it causes the output frequency to deviate more than ±10% from the reference frequency. The output frequencies of the BICS for various (MOSIS) model parameters are simulated to check for the effect of process variation on the frequency deviation. A set of eight faults simulating manufacturing defects in CMOS data converters are in-jected using fault-injection transistors and tested successfully. Keywords: IDDQ Testing, DAC, BICS, Sub-Micron CMOS IC, ΔIDDQ Testing, Process Variation, Background
1. Introduction Quiescent current (IDDQ) testing has become an effective and efficient testing method for detecting physical de-fects such as gate-oxide shorts, floating gates (open) and bridging faults  in circuits. Conventional IDDQ testing is based on the fact that quiescent current in a defect free circuit is less compared to the quiescent current of the circuit with defects. Several available IDDQ test method-ologies can be classified into two groups, external (off- chip) and internal (on-chip) IDDQ testing. External IDDQ testing monitors power supply current through the power pins of the integrated circuit package while internal IDDQ testing monitors power supply current through the built-in current sensors (BICS) . On-chip built-in cur-rent sensors are advantageous over off-chip current sen-sors for detecting the defective quiescent current due to better discrimination and higher testing speeds .
Currently, in VLSI circuits designed in sub-micron/ deep sub-micron CMOS processes, the gap between the defective and defect-free quiescent current is narrowing due to increasing background current [4-6]. Process vari-ation also impacts digital, analog/mixed-signal integrated
circuits fabricated in sub-micron/deep sub-micron CMO- S technology. Process variation affects the threshold voltage of the circuit and thus the effective leakage cur-rent in the circuit. Hence, designing BICS for submicron CMOS process is becoming difficult. However, prob-lems related with IDDQ testing in digital VLSI circuits designed in submicron CMOS processes are well known and have been researched extensively . Many new testing techniques have been proposed and presented in literature to minimize the effect of increased background current and the impact of process variation on the IDDQ measurements to improve defect detectability. Among those, delta IDDQ (ΔIDDQ) testing is particularly attractive because the differential measurement suppresses the im-pact of the background current. Vazquez and de Gyvez [8,9] have reported a ΔIDDQ BICS which has both on-chip and off-chip components. Most of these new testing techniques to improve the effectiveness of IDDQ testing have been successfully implemented for digital circuits. However testing of analog circuits using IDDQ in submicron CMOS is still a problem due to variation in design parameters from one specific application to other. Hence, in testing of analog circuits the tolerance on the circuit parameters has to be taken into account because it can cause a significant difference between the quiescent
*Part of the work is reported in Proc. IEEE MWSCAS, pp. 284-287, Seattle, 2010.
134 R. SOUNDARARAJAN ET AL.
current of a manufactured circuit and its nominal value. A simple pass/fail test is not a good measure for fault de-tection. Mixed-signal types of circuits such as data con-verters are even more difficult to test using IDDQ. We have extensively researched and presented the ΔIDDQ testing for sub-micron CMOS mixed-signal circuits in our previous work [10,11]. In this work, effects of proc-ess variation on ΔIDDQ testing for CMOS data converters are studied and presented.
Here we present the design and implementation of a built-in-current sensor for delta IDDQ testing in a 0.5 µm n-well CMOS process for a 12-bit digital-to-analog con-verter (DAC) to study the effects of process variation. The paper is organized as follows: Section 2 describes the proposed sensor and its circuit implementation, Sec-tion 3 describes 12-bit DAC which is being used as the circuit under test (CUT), Section 4 presents the results and discussion and Section 5 gives the conclusion. 2. Built-in Current Sensor for Delta IDDQ
Testing 2.1. Proposed Design The proposed sensor combines the concepts of multi- parameter testing and delta IDDQ testing to detect defec-tive currents and is based on Keating-Meyer approach for IDDQ testing  and is a modification of IDDQ meas-urement (MEAS) block of delta IDDQ BICS by Vazquez and de Gyvez [8,9]. Multi-parameter testing helps in suppressing the high background current while delta IDDQ testing helps in decreasing IDDQ variance. Figure 1 [8,9] summarizes the sensor’s operation; it has two curves corresponding to low and high leakage. After applying an input pattern to the CUT, the on-chip capacitor is al-lowed to charge and discharge until it reaches the refer-ence voltage VREF.
The expression associated with this discharge is given by [8-11]
where Δ DD REFV V V and C is the total circuit ca-pacitance including the discharging capacitor. The time
taken by the decaying voltage of the capacitor to reach VREF is measured as frequency by using a com-parator and a voltage controlled oscillator (VCO) as shown in Figure 2. The comparator gives an output VCTRL, which is used as an input by the VCO to give the output frequency.
In the design, the BICS is on-chip for better testability and higher testing speeds. The proposed sensor also takes into account the process variation after fabrication and self-adjusts for fault detection. This is done by calculat-
ing the output frequency of the VCO and subtracting it from the output frequency of the ring oscillator to obtain the final output frequency. 2.2. Circuit Implementation Figure 2 shows the circuit diagram of the BICS where p-MOSFET in earlier MEAS block [8,9] has been re-placed by two transmission gates TG1 and TG2 as switches. The two transmission gates are used to isolate CUT from the BICS depending on the mode of operation (normal mode or test mode). In the normal mode of op-eration, the supply voltage VDD1 is given to CUT and the BICS is isolated, so that there will be no performance degradation in the CUT.
In the test mode of operation, the supply voltage is given to VDD. In this mode, initially transmission gate TG1 between the supply voltage and the CUT is turned on charging the capacitor to VDD, transmission gate TG2 between the BICS and the CUT is turned off isolating them during this period. A single clock has been used to turn on and off both TG1 and TG2 as shown in Figure 2. For fault detection TG1 is turned off and TG2 is turned on discharging the capacitor C1 through the CUT. When TG2 is turned on, the node X of the capacitor C1 gets connected to the comparator and the voltage at the node X keeps reducing as the capacitor gets discharged through the CUT. The voltage at node X is compared to the reference voltage through the comparator to give a pulse output. The reference voltage to comparator is
Figure 1. Capacitor discharge transient voltage of the CUT under high and low leakage [8-11]. Solid line: fault free condition, dotted line: faulty condition.
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IDDQ (1 V)
Figure 2. ΔIDDQ built-in current sensor (BICS).
given externally so that the width of the pulse at the out-put of the comparator can be controlled. The output of the comparator is used as input to the NMOS switch which in turn charges the capacitor C2 as shown in Fig-ure 2.
The voltage across the capacitor C2, VCTRL depends on the time NMOS switch is on, which in-turn depends on the discharge time of the capacitor C1. The voltage across the capacitor VCTRL is then given to a VCO. The output of a VCO is a clock signal, whose frequency is dependent on VCTRL. Its operation is similar to that of a ring oscillator. The oscillation frequency of the current starved VCO for n number (an odd number 3) of stages is given by
Oout in DDr f
n C C Vn t t
where, tr and tf are the rise time and the fall time, respec-tively, and n is the number of stages. VDD is the power supply voltage. ID is the biasing current. The biasing current can be adjusted by varying the control voltage, which in turn changes the oscillation frequency. The output frequency of the voltage controlled oscillator is subtracted from the frequencies of the ring oscillator to obtain BICS final output frequency as shown in Figure 2. This method helps to overcome the process variation in sub-micron CMOS technology. 3. 12-Bit DAC Design (CUT) The 12-bit DAC design uses a charge scaling architec-ture and the block diagram is as shown in Figure 3 . The DAC converts a 12-bit digital input word to a re-spective analog signal by scaling a voltage reference. The DAC consists of voltage reference, binary switches,
scaling network, an operational amplifier and a sample and hold circuit. The multiplexer circuit connected to the other end of each capacitor, selects the voltage which is either VREF or GND to which the capacitor is charged depending upon the control signal “VS”. Initially, the control signal for all multiplexer switches is set to LOW before giving any specified input so that GND is sup-plied to the capacitor network and reset. Then the ca-pacitor network is supplied with the digital word by switching the particular multiplexer switch for each bit to the desired value of either VREF for “1” or GND for “0”. The capacitors whose ends are connected to VREF are charged to +2 V and those, which are connected to GND, are charged to 0 V. Since the capacitor network is con-nected in parallel, the equivalent voltage is calculated by,
1 2 31 2 32 2 2 2 N
OUT N REFV b b b B V (3)
The capacitor at the end of the network is used as a “terminating capacitor”. Depending on the capacitors, which are charged to different voltages based on the in-put digital word, the effective resultant analog voltage is calculated for the respective digital combination. The analog voltage is passed through the op-amp and the sample-and-hold circuit and appears as an analog voltage. The op-amp and comparator used in DAC is designed for 2.5 V operation. 4. Results and Discussion Figure 4 shows the chip layout of a 12-bit DAC de-signed for operation at 2.5 V in 0.5 m n-well CMOS process with eight defects introduced using fault injec-tion transistors (FITs) as switches . The design inte-grates an on-chip BICS of Figure 2 for IDDQ testing of physical defects such as shorts in MOSFETs. The DAC
136 R. SOUNDARARAJAN ET AL.
occupies 504 × 501 μm2 area of the chip. The BICS oc-cupies 20% (670 × 75 μm2) of the total chip area.
In testing of analog and mixed signal circuits, the de-pendence of the power supply current on the circuit pa-rameters has to be considered. This can result in a sig-nificant difference between the fabricated (manufactured) circuit and its nominal value. So a fault-free circuit can be considered as faulty and vice-versa [10,11,15]. This problem is overcome in the present work by considering a tolerance limit of ±10% on the fault free output fre-quency value. It thus takes into account the variations due to significant technology and design parameters. The circuit has been designed using the model parameters T69K  and the frequency output of the BICS is called the natural frequency (fN). The BICS has been simulated with various model parameters to check for the effects of process variation on the deviation of the output frequencies from the natural frequency. The results are presented in Figure 5.
From Figure 5, it can be observed that the deviation of the output frequency of the BICS is less than ±10% for all the model parameters except T5CX , T51T , T3CU  thus falling within the tolerance limit. To check the robustness of the BICS against the process variation, the output frequencies obtained by BICS for the different model parameters have been modified by ± 10 % and their deviation with the natural frequency have also been calculated and shown in Figure 5. It can be observed from Figure 5 that even with the variation of the output frequencies obtained by BICS by either +10%
or –10%, the deviation is within ±10% of the natural frequency. Thus, the CUT can be designed using one set of model parameters and the same natural frequency value can be used for fault detection after fabrication using the BICS.
The CUT is then simulated after introducing faults us-ing fault injection transistors one by one. Table 1 sum-marizes the output frequency of the BICS along with their deviation from the natural frequency.
Fault-1 simulates a physical short between drain and source of one of the transistors in multiplexer part of the circuit of Figure 3, Fault-2 simulates a physical short between drain and source of one of the transistors in multiplexer part of the circuit of Figure 3, Fault-3 simu-lates a physical short between gate and source of one of the transistors of the op-amp part of the circuit of Figure 3, Fault-4 simulates a physical short between drain and source of one of the transistors of the op-amp part of the circuit of Figure 3. Fault-5 simulates a gate-substrate short in one of the transistors of the op-amp part of the circuit of Figure 3. Fault-6 simulates a gate-drain short of one of the transistors of the op-amp part of the circuit of Figure 3, Fault-7 simulates a source-substrate short of one of the transistors of the sample-and-hold circuit part of the circuit of Figure 3 and Fault-8 simulates an in-ter-gate short between two transistors in the unit gain op-amp of the sample-and-hold circuit part of the circuit of Figure 3. From Table 1 it can be noted that the devia-tion is greater than ±10% and thus detecting the intro-duced faults.
Output of Multiplexer
Sample and Hold Input
Unity- Gain Buffer
LSB Array MSB Array
Circuitry to Generate Digital Input Word
2C C 32C16C4C 8CC 2C 4C 8C 16C 32C C
c 63 64
Figure 3. Schematic of a 12-bit charge scaling DAC.
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R. SOUNDARARAJAN ET AL.
Figure 4. Chip layout of 12-bit DAC and BICS with induced faults.
Figure 5. Deviation of BICS output frequency to natural frequency (fN).
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Table 1. Deviation of BICS output frequency from natural frequency with induced faults.
Fault Output Freq. of VCO (MHz) Freq. of Ring Oscillator (MHz) Output Freq. of the BICS (kHz) Deviation (%)
No Fault 2.632 2.632 0 0
Fault 1 3.226 2.632 594.227 22.58
Fault 2 3.125 2.632 493.421 18.75
Fault 3 2.326 2.632 −305.998 −11.63
Fault 4 2.222 2.632 −409.357 −15.56
Fault 5 2.326 2.632 −305.998 −11.63
Fault 6 2.941 2.632 309.597 11.76
Fault 7 2.326 2.632 −305.998 −11.63
Fault 8 2.222 2.632 −409.357 −15.56
5. Conclusions We have proposed and implemented a BICS for CMOS data converters fabricated in 0.5 µm n-well CMOS proc-ess. The circuits are designed to overcome the problem of increase in absolute value of quiescent current due to increasing background current. It also overcomes the variation in the value of quiescent current due to the change in threshold voltage and leakage current caused by process variation in the circuit. Thus, the increase in quiescent current caused due to defect can be estimated accurately in sub-micron CMOS data converters. The process variation effects on the ΔIDDQ testing of the data converters are considered and simulated for various model parameters. The deviation of the output frequency of the BICS is observed to be less than ±10% for the model parameters and more than ±10% for various faults introduced in the data converter circuit using fault-injec- tion transistors. 6. References  R. Rajsuman, “Iddq Testing for CMOS VLSI,” Artech
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